An Ikeja High Court on Thursday remanded an American citizen, Marco Ramirez, at Kirikiri Maximum Prison for allegedly defrauding three Nigerians in a $565,000 green card and investment scam. .
Mr. Ramirez was remanded following his not-guilty plea to a 16-count charge of obtaining money under false presences. He was arraigned by the EFCC. .
The EFCC prosecutor, V. O. Aigboje, alleged that the accused, managing director of three companies – USA Now Plc., Eagleford Instalodge Group and USA Now Capital Group – committed the offences between February 2013 and August 2013. .
Mr. Aigboje said Mr. Ramirez fraudulently received $545,000 from Godson Echejue to invest in his company, Eagleford Instalodge Group, in order to procure an American green card (residence permit) for him (Echejue). .
He also allegedly received $10,000 from Abubakar Umar through a non-existent investment programme in the U.S., which was billed to make Mr. Umar eligible to obtain an American passport. .
The EFCC also accused Mr. Ramirez of illegally receiving $10,000 from one Olukayode Sodimu under the pretext that the funds were facilitation fees with the American Immigration Services for an American green card. .
After Mr. Ramirez took his plea, Mr. Aigboje requested that he be taken from the custody of EFCC to prison custody. “There are no bed spaces available in the commission. I apply that the defendant be remanded in prison custody,” she said. .
Chukwudi Maduka, the defence counsel, in his submission, requested that Mr. Ramirez be kept in the custody of EFCC and not in the custody of the Nigerian Prison Service. .
Justice Josephine Oyefeso, however, rejected Mr. Maduka’s request and ordered that Mr. Ramirez be remanded in prison. “The proper place for remand is prison custody and I so order. The case is, hereby, adjourned to July 3 for hearing of the defendant’s bail application,” she said.